I just started a new job in sales at a hotel in Portland, Oregon. I just found out, after being here for 1 week, that I will be doing a B2B trade show (put on by my Chamber of Commerce) in a week and a half. This is my first trade show, ever. I don’t even know where to start! We just opened and the only items with logos I have are simple brochures, a little box of pens and gift bags… What do I do?? Step by step please. I need help with everything from set up to breakdown…
Will the show be at your hotel or in another facility? If it’s at your hotel, then you’ve got “home court advantage”. Everywhere people look they see your hotel.
The goal of any trade show is to start a conversation. Seldom is money exchanged at the booth. It’s a get-to-know (and get-to-trust-you) experience. You’re listening to what people need and learning how to take care of them. Your goal is to arrange a private meeting with interested parties at a later date. That’s all. Because the people attending your booth will be looking at your offerings from lots of different perspectives: business meetings, conferences, weddings, retreats, and even a visit by the in-laws. Don’t assume you know what they want. They know you’re a hotel, but what makes you a special hotel? Is the thread count of your sheets? The organic soaps? The fresh-baked cookies at the front desk? A concierge who knows all the hot spots? Romantic hide-aways? 100,000sf of meeting space that’s easily configurable? A garden perfect for meetings or weddings?
Show the various aspects of your offerings. When someone visits, ask if they’ve ever visited your hotel. Do they travel frequently? Do they entertain a lot of out-of-town guests (and/or clients)? Listen, and write down details. Make a follow-up appointment.
The booth swag should be tied to the hotel itself. Perhaps a flower (if you have a great garden). Some of your fresh-baked cookies. A mint that you put on the pillow. A stay one night free with first night. A 50% off dining coupon. The sky’s the limit. Just make sure that you make the trade show the start of a great relationship.
My firm, a small but proven aerial photography & mapping company, exhibits at trade shows regularly to market to and capture leads in government & professional fields. My company flies cameras to capture the ground images, processes this data, and uses scientific methods to create accurate maps. I’ve been trying to think of creative – but industry related trade show “freebies,” prizes, and/or booth games that would apply to our technical/scientific industry. I want to do this while keeping up a professional image and having a little fun. Remember, I need industry related ideas (keywords: aviation, mapping, tech, etc.).
As for a premium prize: An aerial photo of their residence (or other building) (within a certain radius from your business).
Giveaways: Cool origami (animals, insects, etc.) from folded maps.
As for games:
- An airplane simulator (running on a PC, etc.)
- A dart throw at a map (with certain locations targeted)
- A matchup game (show aerial photos and 1 photo from ground level – match the aerial photo to the ground photo)
My company will be at a major trade show for the heavy equipment industry early next year so of course we are starting to plan for it now. We’re good to go with booth set up/layout, SWAG, and literature. We are also doing demonstrations of our equipment and qualified visitors will be allowed to ‘test’ them.
The concern is, how to keep people interested enough to ‘stick around’ the booth since more than likely key staff members will be conducting equipment demonstrations.
The goal for your booth is to get people interested in your products. You should capture the contact information of booth visitors and pre-qualify them. Don’t try to hog them at the show – they’re looking to see as much as possible. Do make it easy for them to find out about you and to schedule a one-on-one 15-minute meeting during/before/after the show to further answer any questions.
My company is going to be exhibiting at a Home Builders Convention. We offer a website that would allow builders to research potential development sites. The theme for the convention is “Under Construction”. Any suggestions for what we can do with our table? We will have a computer and flat screen tv to display our website.
I’d create a video showing people using your software and have that running on a loop. Ideally, show the actual home (“under construction”) shown on an inset as the software is being used to design that aspect of the home. This makes it obvious what you’re selling to people casually walking by, and you can spend more time pre-qualifying leads.
I have a trade show booth and I need creative games to attract clients to sign up. Our product is corporate salary loans. We are promoting fast processing of salary loans in 3 days. Do you know any games that can be related to our “fast, easy, speed” loan application and processing theme? I’m tired of spin a wheel, pick a prize, common games. I really need to come up with new ideas and games.
Because of the 3 days/3 attributes:
– 3 Card Monte
– 3 Cups & Pea/ball
– 3 balls into a hoop (basketball/nerf ball toss)
Because of fast/easy/speed:
– a dollar catch
– reaction timer (have them press a button after a light goes on)
– categories (give contestants 15 seconds to come up with as many different examples of a category — car brands, fruits, state capitals, etc.)
I have tried just about anything and nothing seems be be working. Calling to ask for an appointment to show them the product line, trade shows, sending in samples. Buyers never return phone calls. At the trade shows the buyers only see their existing clients they have an appointment with and totally ignore the new companies with new products. My website doesn’t get any traffic either. Someone at the show suggested hiring a celebrity but as we found out they are extremely expensive and hard to get. I am thinking of joining a networking association in hopes to find some leads.
The buyers you’ve been meeting simply aren’t interested in what you’re selling. This could because: 1) they don’t like your product, or 2) they don’t see a demand, or 3) they don’t like your presentation.
You have a number of approaches:
– Create a demand. Skip the buyers, sell direct to sk8ters and the rest of your target demographic. If you start getting sales, then buyers may follow.
– Improve your presentation. Your website seems to appeal to teens. Why not brand special caps for different college campuses? High Schools? Beach communities? Bars? Adult Sports Teams?
– Improve your product. Ask the buyers what they think about your product and listen. Do they like the price? Style? Uniqueness? Message?
I don’t think a networking assn will help – you haven’t yet identified what you need (other than sales). As for your website, if you’re not getting traffic, then you haven’t figured out what people are searching for and wading into those waters. MySpace would be a natural community to hype your hats and build traffic.
I am getting ready to order the marketing giveaways (pens, brochures, etc.) for a senior expo/trade show. The booth will be for a Skilled Nursing Facility. What have you found to be the best economical and productive form of giveaways?
Unique and useful gifts. I would think about pens that are easy to hold with arthritic hands, brochures printed in larger fonts for older eyes, new pill holders, and and other things that make an older person’s life a little bit easier
Rather than focus on the giveaways, make sure that your booth clearly markets what makes your facility different/better than the others. Train your staff to reinforce this message. Marketing materials (including giveaways) should likewise reflect the message.